-- A Prelude to Hana Yori Dango -----------------------
Hello! ^_^ Never heard of Hana Yori Dango (aka Boys Over Flowers)? Right off the bat, I can say that you're missing out on one of the best shoujo series ever released. If you think HYD is just another melodramatic, high school story with a cheesy plot centered around a glittering, perfect, cute, and helpless heroine waiting for the male lead to rescue her- then think again! Sorely mistaken much, in fact. Rather, this series consist of a lot of spunk, depth, intelligence...and most of all, it all revolves around a realistic and addictive plot that just reels you into the Hanadan universe. Every character has their own captivating personality, complete with their own flaws that just makes you fall in love with them for being so humanly intriguing.
There are a total of 51 anime episodes, 36 manga tankoubon volumes, 1 special 50-page oneshot, 1 animated movie, 1 live action Japanese movie, 1 live action Japanese television drama, 3 Taiwanese television drama, 1 Gameboy Color Adventure Game, an illustration book, a special "FF" character/guide book, and 4 awesome OST CDs, plus other miscellaneous CDs. That alone should tell you that this is sure to be a great series. Furthermore, it's also been picked up by Viz- so yes, it's available in English as well. The series is also complete, so no more waiting in agony for the next installment and such. ^_^
-- A Brief Synopsis -----------------------
* As originally written by Rita, and now revised by me.
The Hanadan story centers around a lower-class girl named Makino Tsukushi, who has recently transferred to the posh and private Eitoku High School where only the wealthy and most prominent kids attend. On her first day of school, Tsukushi witnesses the cruelty of the F4 who are basically the four most powerful and richest guys who literally rule over Eitoku, teachers included. Chaos ensues soon upon their meeting, of course. ^_-
First and foremost, friendship is taboo at Eitoku because no friendship can last the torture or humiliation of the F4, which stands for The Flower Four because they're so beautiful. XD However, Tsukushi's friend accidentally gets into trouble with the F4, which caused Tsukushi to bravely stand up to the F4 for her friend- something that has never happened before, mind you. This ends up badly for Tsukushi though, as she gets smacked with the infamous and scary F4 red tag- which basically calls for the entire student body of Eitoku to turn against her.
From here onwards, Tsukushi had to endure the pain of being hazed and assaulted by all the students- and the friend she had originally defended also avoided her for the fear of facing the F4's wrath. Nevertheless, Tsukushi's strong will and character allows her to stand up to all the bullying and problems. She manages to remain in school and even decided to declare an all out war with the F4 rather than cowering from them. Intrigued by Tsukushi's daring spunk, the F4 were quite impressed and this also consequently catches the eye of Doumyouji Tsukasa- who's none other than the leader of F4. Everything then spins wildly out of control as the two battle it out, with the F4 making Tsukushi's life at Eitoku entirely miserable.
One of the most notable aspect of the series is Tsukushi's fiery personality and unexpected realism, which makes her a pioneer in shoujo anime. Never before has any main female character of any anime series portrayed the level of wit and maturity as Tsukushi displays in Hana Yori Dango. Tsukushi's spunky spirit and unyielding determination allow her to face her harsh destiny, overcome her daily traumas, and become a more real person. I love Hana Yori Dango so much because it breaks through all the former conventions of anime. Although feminism has yet to conquer Japan, Tsukushi, in her own natural way, embodies the movement. Not only does Tsukushi survive, but she also leaves her legacy of nonconformity to the male-dominated, cliché world of ANIME.
The above synopsis doesn't even begin to cover what this series is truly about, and no amount of description or explanation can ever do HYD justice. Now, I invite you to browse around the site and discover the brilliance of this series. Journey into the world of realistic trials, friendships, the hardship of discovering true love, the games of life, and just overall greatness. Hana Yori Dango is not to be missed!